Nicholas Krgovich has eloquently crammed nearly 30 recordings in a decade and a half. Mistakenly pegged on the ubiquitous indie-rock corkboard, Krgovich’s past participations in the art pop sensationalisms of P:ANO, R&B influenced NO KIDS, and yuletide seasonal guise of CHRIS MATHIEM all showcased a knack as a song arranger and performer superior to the style he was cast on.
OUCH, his new record, is as expected, a honeypot of sounds. Krgovich’s sultry tenor is further collar grabbing and enticing. Written after a crushing breakup, the aptly titled OUCH is a wheelbarrow of heartache that soothes more than it scrapes. Light like fractionated coconut oil, Krgovich reaches the dry corners with a viscosity of surprises and intimacy worth scooting in on.
Opening song, “Rosemary”, floats on a high yielding, few notes of melodically played keys, handclaps and brief howl of electric guitar nodding toward Krgovich’s bent toward Motown aesthetics. Follow up, “Time” is glittered and basted in Krgovich’s shimmery voice and smoothed over by timely saxophone. “Hinoki” charms with layered vocals, drunk, whirling keyboards, and twangy-spaced out guitars. The effervescent “Spa” drips over drum machine and bookish vocals, but it’s the simplicity of “Belief” which stages Krgovich’s skills as both songsmith and narrator. His pacing offers refined variation allowing OUCH to take flight.
Not to be undervalued is the metaphoric cover photo; the open space hardly feels lived in and the floor plan appears to be almost crushing Krgovich. Even with a gorgeous, modern layout, the room feels cold and unapproachable, yet the frigid and hollow scent dissolves under Krgovich’s diarist accounts. He’s so specifically tongue in cheek and well translated in his emotions, the record bubbles with warmth and light. He spares us the over-sentimentalized moments, pinpointing honesty in his rich retelling.
The slight rock band push at the end of “Lido” is true catharsis. The fiery liftoff ignites; burning Krgovich’s preciousness back giving the finale, “Field”, an edgy sign off. The instrumentation barely shifts, minus a few squealing saxophone notes, finding Krgovich at his most hard to read and somehow his most ready to move on. Instead of transmitting his pain, Krgovich masterfully transforms it in 12 songs.